Tips for Starting & Sticking to a Budget
1. Be Honest and Realistic with Yourself - Make sure to be honest about your income and all your expenses. You can’t start to make changes until you truly know where you are.
2. Plan for the Unexpected - Create an emergency fund within your budget to prepare in case something happens during the month that would make you go over expected expenses.
3. Pay Yourself Every Month Like it is an Expense - It should be an important part of your budget every month to pay yourself, along with all your expenses. As you grow within your budget, try to save 10%-15% of your income to a retirement or other type of savings fund.
4. Allocate a Portion of Your Budget for “You” Time - It is unrealistic to try to stick to a budget without giving yourself a little “free” money to do things for yourself. If your bills are being paid and you are building up retirement and savings funds, it does not hurt to spend a little money on things like shopping and entertainment.
5. Be Flexible with Your Budget - It is important to not only follow your planned budget, but to continually research and tweak it as well. A good rule of thumb would be to adjust every quarter. Taking an average of what you spend on certain expenses every quarter as opposed to every month will give you a better idea of how you should plan your spending.